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General Application Information
Applicants holding baccalaureate or graduate degrees are eligible to seek admission to a program of graduate study at the University of South Dakota. Application materials may be obtained from the Graduate School, McKusick Center, 414 East Clark Street, Vermillion, SD 57069-2390. Prospective candidates can also reach the office of Graduate Admissions by calling (605) 677-6240, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or referring to the website at www.usd.edu/graduate-school/.
Candidates seeking admission to graduate programs must display evidence of academic aptitude, achievement and motivation. Additionally, previous behaviors contrary to or in violation of ethical or professional standards of the degree program being sought may be cause for denial of admission to a program by the Graduate Dean.
For all programs except Law and M.D., candidates apply to the Graduate School.
For most programs (exclusive of those noted above), the application requires:
- Complete Application. The application can be completed online at: https://www.usd.edu/apps/grad-app. The application must be completed and signed. A $35.00 non-refundable fee must accompany the application form. The application fee can be paid via check, money order, or credit card. Checks and money orders must be made out to the University of South Dakota. Credit cards can only be used online with the online application. The fee cannot be waived and application packets will not be processed until the University has received the $35.00 fee. The School of Law, School of Medicine and Departments of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy (traditional program), and Physician Assistant Studies require unique applications.
- Three Letters of Recommendations. Three letters of recommendation are required of applicants to most graduate degree program; five letters are required for application to the Ph.D. program in Counseling and Psychology in Education through the School of Education and only two letters are required for application to the Beacom School of Business. Recommendation forms are available on the Graduate School website at http://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/how-to-apply.cfm. The applicant must complete the first section of the form and sign in the designated area. The person writing the recommendation may complete the form, seal it in an envelope, and write his/her name across the flap on the back of the envelope. The sealed envelope is to be returned to the applicant and enclosed along with the application materials. Alternatively, the recommendation forms may be sent directly to the Graduate School, McKusick Center, 414 East Clark St., Vermillion, SD, 57069-2390 or via e-mail attached to email@example.com.
- One Official Transcript. One official transcript verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit must accompany an application. A transcript verifying receipt of a previous graduate degree may be required for some programs. Official transcripts must be sent directly to the Graduate School from the issuing institution(s) (see address above). A paper official transcript must bear the original seal and signature of the official in charge of records at that institution. An electronic official transcript must be transmitted directly between institutions using the electronic transcript service authorized by the sending issuing institution and acceptable to the receiving institution. A transcript delivered by the student or issued to the student is not official. For applicants who have received their baccalaureate degree from USD or from any of the South Dakota Regental institutions, transcripts will be printed by the USD Graduate School which suffices for the packet for inclusion in the application. Applicants do not need to request undergraduate transcripts if graduating from a South Dakota public university. Applicants who apply before receiving the baccalaureate degree will be required to submit their final transcript directly to the Graduate School before their graduate studies begin, thereby demonstrating that the degree has been conferred. Students will not be fully admitted until the Graduate School has received the final baccalaureate transcript.
- Official Test Scores. If test scores are required by a department or degree program, standardized test scores should be sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing center.
- Statement of Purpose: Applicants are encouraged to provide information about their reason for pursuing graduate studies, interest in research or creative activity relevant to their proposed graduate program, and goals for the future. Not all graduate programs require a formal statement of purpose and instead, require supplemental information. If the program does not have a statement of purpose requirement, the applicant should submit a general goal statement as to why he or she wants to attend graduate school. Please attach your statement to the application.
- Applicants from Other Countries: Proficiency Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT) or 550 on the written TOEFL is required for graduate admission. The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) Exam is also accepted with a minimum score of 6.0. The PTE Academic English Test is also accepted with a minimum score of 53. Students from or who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from these English-speaking countries (UK, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand) are not required to submit a TOEFL score if their academic records indicate that English was the classroom language for the majority of their schoolwork. Foreign students who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an American college or university are not required to submit a TOEFL score. Foreign students who have passed the National Physical Therapy examination developed and administered by the Federal State Board of Physical Therapy are not required to submit a TOEFL score. *Please Note: Permanent residents and American citizens whose first language is not English and do not have a degree from an American University, must also complete the TOEFL or IELTS for admission to the University of South Dakota.
NOTE: Once a packet containing the required materials has been submitted, it becomes property of the University of South Dakota Graduate School. Students may request to defer admission for up to one year (three consecutive semesters) using the materials submitted. The Graduate School does not keep transcripts on file from prospective students who do not defer admission.
Application Requirements for International Students
Before a foreign applicant’s file can be evaluated, the following items must be submitted to Graduate School. F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant students can only study at the Vermillion or the University Center (Sioux Falls) campuses. Permanent Residents please see General Application Requirements above.
- Completed application form and non-refundable application fee of $35.00 U.S. dollars.
- Three completed recommendation forms; five letters are required for application to the Ph.D. program in Counseling and Psychology in Education through the School of Education and only two letters are required for application to the Beacom School of Business.
- One official transcript of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels (with English translation stating a 2.7 or better undergraduate grade point average based on a 4.0 system or a 3.0 or above cumulative GPA of graduate work). The USD Graduate School and/or academic departments retain the right to require an Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES) evaluation for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.
- Any required test for the program in which the student is applying.
- Supplemental application materials for department if required.
- Financial Ability Form (form available at http://www.usd.edu/isso) and certified bank statement or sponsor’s letter showing that student is financially self-supported.
- Proficiency Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (IBT) or 550 on the written TOEFL is required for graduate admission. The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) Exam is also accepted with a minimum score of 6.0. The PTE Academic English Test is also accepted with a minimum score of 53. Students from or who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from these English-speaking countries (UK, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand) are not required to submit a TOEFL score if their academic records indicate that English was the classroom language for the majority of their schoolwork. Foreign students who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an American college or university are not required to submit a TOEFL score. *Please Note: Permanent residents and American citizens whose first language is not English and do not have a degree from an American University, must also complete the TOEFL or IELTS for admission to the University of South Dakota.
The Graduate School will send a letter of notification of the student’s admission status to the International Services Student Office (ISSO). The Graduate School will notify the student directly of admission or rejection into the program to which the student applied. If the student has been admitted into the Graduate School, the ISSO will send the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form), and other information to the student who will use these materials to obtain a visa.
Once the student has been accepted to USD, financial ability must be proven to receive the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form). The Financial Ability Form, available at http://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/international-admissions.cfm, and certified bank statement or sponsor’s letter showing that student is financially self-supported are required before the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form) can be issued. *To avoid delays, the Financial Ability Form and bank statements should be sent with application materials.
A foreign student should not depart from home to attend the University of South Dakota until notification of admission has been received and the Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 Form) has been issued to the student. All non-United States citizens must report to the International Student Services Office, McKusick Technology Center Rm 210, upon initial arrival to the campus. You can reach the International Student Services Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 605-677-6240. http://www.usd.edu/isso.
Admission Test Information
Some departments require that all graduate students seeking a degree must submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination, the Graduate Management Admission Test, Miller Analogies Test, or a comparable examination. Such test scores may be required to determine admission to the Graduate School or to specific degree programs. Each department determines the manner in which graduate test requirements, if any, are to be met by applicants. See the descriptive narrative of the various departments for more explicit information concerning these admission tests.
Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
The GMAT is scheduled throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. This information may be obtained from the Educational Testing Service, Graduate Management Admissions Test, P.O. Box 6103, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6103 or at http://www.mba.com/mba. Candidates can register for the exam at http://www.mba.com.
Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).
Students wishing to take the general GRE may register directly with the Educational Testing Service, P.O. Box 6004, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6000, (800) GRE-CALL, or at http://www.GRE.org. Sylvan Learning Centers also offer the general and subject tests. Contact their center at (800) 967-1100.
The applicant is encouraged to repeat the GRE if the examination was completed more than five years prior to the date of admitting application. Scores more than five years old will not be accepted. Applicants who are required to submit GRE scores, but who have not yet completed the test, should indicate that they are arranging for the test on their application for admission to the Graduate School, and should ensure that scores are available to meet specified departmental deadlines.
The University of South Dakota adheres to guidelines established by the Educational Testing Service regarding the fair use of test results. In accordance with those guidelines, GRE test scores older than five years are not considered to be valid for admissions purposes.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
International students, whose native language is other than English, are required to demonstrate competency in English unless they have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from an United States college or university. IELTS scores are valid for two years. Information pertaining to this test may be obtained by writing directly to IELTS International, 100 E. Corson St., Suite 200, Pasadena, California 91103 or email at email@example.com.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
The LSAT is required for admission into the School of Law. This test consists of five sections comprised of comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical-reasoning problems. For more information about this test, contact the USD Law School, or contact the LSAT website at http://www.LSAC.org.
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The MCAT assesses mastery of basic concepts in biology, chemistry, physics, scientific problem-solving, critical thinking, and writing skills. The MCAT is required for admission into Canadian and American medical schools. More information can be obtained from the USD Medical School, or from the MCAT website at www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/.
Miller Analogies Test (MAT)
This test is accepted by some programs in the School of Education in lieu of the GRE. For registration and test date information, contact the Office of Certification and Placement at the School of Education (605) 677-5611.
Pearson Test of English (PTE)
This test integrates all four skills (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing) and focuses on assessing the ability of communicating in English, rather than test taking skills. Information pertaining to this test may be obtained by calling 1-800-901-0229 (from US or Canada), emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at http://www.pearsonpte.com/.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
International students, whose native language is other than English, are required to demonstrate competency in English unless they have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from a United States college or university. TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Information pertaining to this test may be obtained by writing directly to the Educational Testing Service, TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey, 08541-6151 or at http://www.ets.org/toefl/.
The Division of Continuing and Distance Education offers various graduate placement examinations: GRE (Graduate Record Examination) subject tests, LSAT (Law School Admission Test), and MPRE (Multi-state Professional Responsibility Examination).